« Onème n’orèma w’ingongo »
Language is the heart of a people
Omyènè proverb (Gabon)
How does you arouse people’s interest in culture when it comes to Gabon? The question is still hard to answer, so rare or one-off is the cultural event!
People’s interest in our country has always been focused on the economy. Our extraordinary natural resources, a certain proclaimed material wealth, low demography, and the lack of a consistent cultural policy have hindered the development of an environment conducive to creation.
All of this renders the artist’s condition improbable and makes Gabon a country where the artistic tradition has yet to be born. When they don’t opt for exile, the daily lot of those who claim to want to live from their art alone remains survival, lack of recognition and inexistence.
But the talent is there! The rare few Gabonese to have emerged have marked the whole continent: the huge André Raponda-Walker; the storyteller Tsira Ndong Ntoutoume; the poet musician Pierre Akéndéngué; the iconoclastic filmmaker Philippe Mory; the playwright and novelist Laurent Owondo
Gabonese artists are inventive, but they need to structure their professions better in order to win the battle for royalties, in which the authorities take no interest. This indifference and passivity characterizes the attitude of a State in crisis, the « legal » accomplice of an anarchic situation.
Today’s generation is inventive, audacious, obstinate and courageous in its undertakings. A more effective communication effort with the media is needed, plus a real implication on the part of the Ministry in charge of Culture in order to promote these unknown artists on an international level.
The ministry could well take advantage of the recent interest in Gabon that has arisen from the singer Olivier Ngoma’s international success, from Justine Mintsa being signed by Gallimard for her book Histoire d’Awu, from the European success of another female novelist, Bessora, for her 53 cm, or from my feature film Dolè at the Carthage Film Festival in Tunis
Gabonese artists are fortunate enough to benefit from a certain virginity on an international level, but the synergy needs to take place on a national level if we are lastingly to make our mark beyond our own borders.
///Article N° : 5493